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Clairmont Animal Hospital Blog

Weird Cat Behaviors: What’s Normal and What’s Not

Weird cat behaviors are often normal. They’re intelligent, clever, affectionate, and amusing – but cats can also be pretty odd. They puff up when they feel threatened. They click and chatter at birds through the window. They climb, pounce, and ambush their targets. Sometimes, cat owners can become so immersed in their cat’s antics that subtle signals of illness or injury are misjudged. In other words, some cat behaviors can go from being perfectly normal to absolute indications that something is off. So, how do you know the difference?

Such Great Heights

Cats can seem sort of invincible. With their ability to jump several times their own height, climb to dizzying levels, and land gracefully on their feet (most of the time), cats inspire us with their highly evolved skills. To that end, we let a lot of weird, oddball cat behaviors slide because, well, they come with the awesome territory that is cat ownership.

What’s Wrong, Fuzzy?

However, despite their unique characteristics, it would be irresponsible to dismiss certain cat behaviors as normal:

 

  • Appetite changes – Cats are creatures of habit. They like their meals at the same time every day and will eat the same portion consistently. If they begin to beg for food or ignore their bowl altogether, it’s time to seek veterinary help. Dental issues may cause sensitivity to chewing and eating.
  • Litter box habits – Some cat owners simply accept that their cat occasionally sprays outside the litter box. However, if it starts suddenly, this marking could mean something else. Some cats will not use their box if it remains untidy.
  • Grooming – Cats are top-notch self-care experts. If you notice that your cat is neglecting their grooming duties or has a dull, greasy coat, we encourage you to contact us.
  • Chatty – Increased vocalization at night isn’t uncommon, but constant nighttime yowling can indicate that your cat is in pain. Alternatively, cats who are uncharacteristically quiet may need medical attention.
  • Behavior – Certainly, cats enjoy hiding, but if yours starts to spend more time under the bed or withdrawing to the closet, they should be examined.

 

Normal Cat Behaviors

With the understanding that most cat behaviors are normal but also slightly odd, we want to highlight some of the most common feline characteristics:

  • Kneading
  • Head butting
  • Marking territory with saliva (e.g., rubbing up on you with the corner of their mouth)
  • Chirping or chattering at prey they can’t reach
  • Not covering up their poop in a shared litter box (a sign of dominance)
  • Ability to right themselves when falling
  • Walking around with their tail straight up (a sign of happiness)
  • Purring
  • Twitching during REM sleep
  • Eating grass
  • Hairballs

At the end of the day, it’s always important to address questionable behaviors early on to prevent issues from getting out of hand. If you have any questions or concerns about cat behaviors, please don’t hesitate to contact us.